To Susan B. Anthony
February 15, 1900 — Susan B. Anthony’s 80th birthday party, Lafayette Opera House, Washington DC
. . . It is fitting on this occasion, when the hearts of women the world over are turned to this day and hour, that the colored women of the United State should join in the expressions of love and praise offered to Miss Atony upon her eightieth birthday . . . She is to us not only the high priestess of woman’s cause, but the courageous defender of rights wherever assailed.
We hold in high esteem her strong and noble womanhood, for in her untiring zeal, her uncompromising stand for jstice to women, her unfailing friendship for all good work, she herself is a stronger and better argument in favor of woman’s rights than the most gifted orator could put into words. When she first championed woman’s cause, humiliation followed her footsteps and injustice barred the door of her progress among even the most favored classes of society; while among less enlightened and enslaved classes the wrongs which woman suffered were too terrible to mention. Carlyle has said, “Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker upon this earth.” When Susan B. Anthony was born, a thinker was “let loose.” Her voice and her pen have lighted a torch whose sacred fire, like that of some old Roman temples, dies not, but whose penetrating ray shall brighten the path of women down the long line of ages yet to come. Our children and our children’s children will be taught to honor her memory, for they shall be told that she has been always in the vanguard of the immortal few who have stood for the great principles of human rights. Grander than any achievement that has crowned the work of woman in this woman’s century has been that which has led her away from the narrow valley of custom and prejudice up to the lofty height where she can accept the Divine teaching that “God hath made of one blood all nations of men.”
Not until the suffrage movement has awakened woman to her responsibility and power, did she come to appreciate the true significance of Christ’s pity for Magdalene as well as of His love for Mary; not till then was the work of Pundita Ramabai in far away India as sacred as that of Frances Willard at home in America; not till she had suffered under the burden of her own wrongs and abuses did she realize the all-important truth that no woman and no class of women can be degraded and all womankind not suffer thereby.
And so, Miss Anthony, in behalf of the hundreds of colored women who wait and hope with you for the day when the ballot shall be in the hands of every intelligent woman; and also in behalf of the thousands who sit in darkness and whose condition we shall expect those ballots to better, whether they be in the hands of white women or black, I offer you my warmest gratitude and congratulations.
Source: History of Woman Suffrage, Vol. 4, ed. Susan B. Anthony and Ida Husted Harper (Indianapolis: The Holenbeck Press) 1902, pp. 398-399.